The United Buddy Bears are in Paris until November 18th. I saw them a few weeks back and enthusiastically went about photographing these colourful giant two metre bear sculptures. There are 140 of them – representing the countries recognised by the UN- standing boldly, hand in hand as a sign of tolerance and peaceful coexistence.
Title: One Thousand White Women : The Journals of May Dodd
Author: Jim Fergus
This book is a fictional book that is so well-researched and written that I had to keep checking whether it was in fact not based on actual records. It is about the the exchange of one thousand white women as brides for Native American men by the American government in the 1800s, in the years immediately prior to the gold rush.
From the distance, the walled city of St.Malo seems imposing, but once within its walls and on its cobbled narrow streets its quaintness is charmingly modest. With its 18th century buildings, and equally historic shops and restaurants one gets a sense of having traveled back in time.
I have been caught up in a post-rentrée funk that I’m trying to shake myself out of. The vacances came and went in a bit of a blur. I am now trying to fall into a rhythm as the weather slowly changes from warm and balmy, to chilly and grey. My new mantra for this year: Write.…
Title: The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
Author: Alexander McCall Smith
This was a joy to read, and I wonder why it has taken me so long to read the Ladies’ Detective Agency series. This debut to the immensely popular series is fast-paced and funny- and for a Southern African, the writing style and vocabulary were elements I could completely relate to. McCall Smith writes in a vernacular form which made my enjoyment of the book much richer.
Title: Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong
Authors: Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow
This is one of those books I pick up once in a while when I am astounded by how much I still do not understand about the French. Just when I think I get them, and I think – yes they are different in this way, or that – something happens and I am yet again drawn to some form of theory that will help me understand the people of my host country.
Title: The Sense of an Ending
Author: Julian Barnes
The Sense of an Ending is similar to the The Remains of the Day, which I read a month ago. Memory, reflection and the crafting of a story that begins with a mystery. I read and finished it in a fairly short time but the layers of interpretation to the story will probably require a second reading. It’s about Tony Webster, a man well into his sixties who is now divorced and leads a quiet, if unexciting life. He is mysteriously bequeathed a journal from a school friend – and this sends him thinking back to his years at school when he met the charismatic Adrian Quinn; who was a mystery to them even back then.
It was definitely not as interesting as the Seine cruises are, but it was good to learn about the Paris canals. We boarded the boat at Parc de la Villette – mistakenly thinking the boat would return there after the cruise. Note: It is a one-way trip between Parc de la Villette and Musee d’Orsay. It ended up being a long day after that because we’d left the car at Parc de la Villette.
There were parts of the cruise that were interesting along Canal St. Martin, like seeing the urban regeneration happening along the canal in the 19th arrondissement.
Yesterday was le 15 août – Assumption Day, and my family’s one year, two day anniversary in France. I cannot believe that it has been a year already. Last year I was told, tongue-in-cheek that the day was meant as a rest day, to prepare people for the rentrée after the summer vacances. No, it’s a religious holiday. We decided to honour our anniversary with a trip to Fontainebleau.